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Three Simple Steps to Reduce International Shipping Costs

I recently read where almost half of UK online shoppers purchased from sites outside of the UK. To me that is an amazing statistic and it is reflective of the growth of cross-border ecommerce. The other statistic quoted was that the biggest barriers to further growth are Delivery costs and timescales for receiving goods. How global merchant brands reduce this friction will determine future growth and success in the market.

Three Simple Steps to Reduce Delivery Costs

Is it possible for merchants to reduce their delivery costs globally without increasing shopping cart abandonment or adding pressure on your margins? The answer is “yes” and here’s how:

Step One

Globalize your order entry fields to accommodate international address standards

Global ecommerce practitioners should be aware of the fact that address formats around the world are different. Using the U.S. standard fields for order entry on an international web site creates bad address data entry. For example in some countries Street Numbers precede Street Name but in a number of countries it is the reverse with Street Name preceding Street Number. . If your systems are not designed to handle the nuances then you are generating additional headaches. By adjusting your entry fields to international standard formats, a merchant can ensure that all of the needed data is entered in the transaction by the buyer.

Step Two

Perform a real time address standardization and verification check during the order entry process

During the order entry process (but behind the scenes) the address information can be checked and either automatically corrected or flagged for follow-up processing based on the merchant’s preferences. By flagging for follow-up the shopping cart process is not interfered with but the order data itself can be checked before the item is actually shipped.

Step Three

Post Order but Pre Shipping process flagged addresses through a robust Global Address Validation and Correction solution

Those orders that are flagged during order entry should be run through an address verification and correction solution. For about $.05-.08/address a merchant can improve the deliverability of an international address. For any order over US$20.00 in value this cost is well worth the effort the results. Ecommerce merchants are encouraged to select a solution that has the most localized understanding of their key “ship-to” markets.

For orders that are flagged after this process, request additional data from the customer.

By following the above, you will:

  • Reduce the number of bad deliveries based on poor address information
  • Reduce the impact of customers service inquiries related to undelivered orders
  • Reduce the cost of lost inventory due to incorrect delivery and then redelivery of a replacement item to the customer
  • Expand international revenue opportunities by engaging untapped markets previously considered too high-risk or expensive to engage due to mis-delivery concerns.

Practice these steps and your costs go down as well as your delivery timescales. Customers are happy and place more orders.